After last week’s look at the Belleville auction and Amish farming, Jerry returns to take us on a little drive through Big Valley:

The Big Valley is alive and well with Amish settlements. When you drive out into the country you see schools everywhere. It almost appears that you can find one every four miles. Most look fairly new, simple, modest one room structures with two outhouses and a playground.

I have one school photo that shows a building with peeling paint. This re-enforces the ideology that you don’t need a fancy building to learn what you need.

One other oddity was that several schools had a collection of rubber-tired scooters stashed along the road near the property. They appear to be left away from the school for a specific reason.

scooters-by-road

I don’t know that reason and never got the chance to ask a native. Perhaps we can speculate and next time I go I will ask a couple of folks.

amish-childrens-scooters-by-roadside

Several homes had the bench wagon parked outside. These homes have either just hosted or are preparing to host the next church meeting.  It’s pretty amazing how everything fits together and folds to maximize space usage.

amish-church-wagon-outside-home

The last observation was that I never saw major retail chains in the valley. A dollar store here and there, but not many.

There is however a Mennonite-owned grocery store. It’s the Sharp Shopper.  I think they are out of Virginia, with about 10 stores in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

sharp-shopper-grocery-outlet

Of course they are over runs, close dates and some times that were not well-received. The inside is amazing. Amish flood to these stores for staples. Of course they have huge amounts of repackaged bulk items at great prices.

sharp-shopper-store-hours

Why pay for fancy packaging and advertising costs when you’re Amish and don’t care about marketing strategies. When an item is selected from the stacks, an employee is right behind you fronting and facing the selection. Every customer sees perfect presentations.

They are closed on Sundays. The best part is they have horse and buggy parking shelters.